The Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD is one beginner motorcycle that can hang with the big boys. It's rugged styling is outfitted with a decent amount of chrome bits to accent its already classic look.
Warm Blooded Fun
The Vulcan 500 is powered is powered by a parallel twin, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled engine with a 498cc displacement. It is based on the ever popular and bulletproof Kawasaki Ninja 500 engine, so you know that the power delivery is going to be very new-rider friendly. It's also a very warm-blooded motorcycle, so even on those cold mornings you probably won't be reaching for the choke nearly as much as you would if you were riding a Suzuki GS500.
Most smaller motorcycles really outshine the competition when taken to the twisties and this little Vulcan is no exception. The long wheelbase of this motorcycle makes it handle really well at highway speeds, although it may be a little tight when performing slow speed maneuvers in a parking lot. The stock seat is actually fairly comfortable on this bike, but if you are going to be doing anything longer than 6 hours you may want to invest in a corbin after market seat.
The passengers seat is also much more comfortable than your average sport bikes, keep in mind if you are going to be riding 2 up a lot, you will notice a definite decrease in power on hills and turns. It's not completely devastating, but noticeable enough to mention.
Aftermarket shiny bits
Because this motorcycle is a member of the prestigious Vulcan family, there are quite a few after market parts to add more style and power to it. Chrome engine guards and larger windshields are just a couple things you can do to class it up.
Side saddles or added luggage are a must have that allow you to pick up things at the grocery store after a nice relaxing ride in the twisties . When all things are considered this motorcycle may not look like a beginner bike, but it's much easier to handle than some 120hp, 800lb hog.
This would be a great first motorcycle, especially if you are into cruisers. It rides well on the freeway, and it handles around town like a dream. The Vulcan 500 was discontinued in 2009 after a 20 year production run, so you could pick up one of these bikes for relatively cheap.
- Warm blooded :)
- Powerful enough for freeway cruising
- Doesn't look like a 500cc motorcycle (looks much more powerful!)
- Riding 2-up can slow down the bike quite a bit
- MSRP: $4,999
- Engine Type: 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4 Valve Cylinder Head, Parallel Twin
- Displacement: 498 cc
- Bore & Stroke: 74.0 x 58.0 mm
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.0 gal.
- Seat Height: 28.1 in.
- Dry Weight: 439 lb.